Green campaigner returns to city council after two-year break

Oxford Mail: Craig Simmons Craig Simmons

THEY may have failed to increase their seats at the Oxford City Council elections, but the Green party claim their support is stronger than ever.

Craig Simmons, who was successfully elected to the St Mary’s ward in East Oxford after a two-year break from local politics, said the party picked up more votes than the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Simmons, one of five Green members sitting on the council, said the party’s share of the vote had increased from about 19 per cent in 2010 to 21.34 per cent on Thursday. He calculated the Liberal Democrats’ citywide share to be 17.09 per cent.

However it has not translated into seats. The Greens still have five seats while the Liberal Democrats hold 13.

Mr Simmons said: “Clearly it is disappointing we didn’t hold on to St Clement’s, that was one we were hoping to hold. But across the city our vote went up and we are now the second party in Oxford (on share of the vote) so in that sense our support slightly increased.

“If anything, it says something about our targeting strategy, maybe we should be targeting different areas than we did, more Liberal Democrat areas than we did.”

New Liberal Democrat group leader Jean Fooks said the party had noticed it had slipped into third place, but she was not overly concerned.

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She said: “It depends who fought where and what efforts were put in.

“There were some very highly contested seats that the Greens hoped to win, and they have campaigned in some areas very actively and got more votes.

“I suspect we are still suffering a little bit from the general feeling that the Government is doing nasty things and not voting for us for that reason.”

Mr Simmons, a former leader of the Green group on the council, stood down in May 2010 to focus on his environmental consultancy business.

But he continued to be a familiar face, campaigning on green issues. He decided to return because his business was on a stronger footing and he was now able to alter his work to four days a week to focus on council duties.

He is expected to be ratified as the new deputy leader of the Green group at a meeting on Thursday.

Before the Labour administration took overall control of the council in 2010, the Green party had seven councillors and was able to sway decisions.

Now there are just five members from the party, and Labour has 29 of the 48 seats.The Liberal Democrats have 13 seats and there is one independent.

Mr Simmons said: “Any party in opposition has limited opportunity to change so it is mostly through persuasion, putting motions to council and working locally on community issues – that is the best way to have an influence in the current structures.”

Issues he was keen to pursue included opposing the demolition of Temple Cowley Pools, fighting against proposals to record all conversations in taxis and, crucially, pushing for a return to area committees.

Comments (9)

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6:05pm Tue 8 May 12

Bart Simpsonxxx says...

So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget.
So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget. Bart Simpsonxxx

6:33pm Tue 8 May 12

EMBOX1 says...

Very true. The Greens want to increase fuel tax by 10 times overnight. If they were in real power, we would be like Sudan.
Very true. The Greens want to increase fuel tax by 10 times overnight. If they were in real power, we would be like Sudan. EMBOX1

6:33pm Tue 8 May 12

LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG says...

Craig Lad, if Labour had not made the mistake of putting in an unpopular candidate in the community to stand against you, then you would have lost in your own heartland. Just thank god that you were not standing against Saj Malik as your 95 majority would be a 200 deficit. No mention of Labours great victory though. Typical Greenie only mention those that manage to do worse than themselves, and as the 6th party in the UK there aren't many of those left.
Craig Lad, if Labour had not made the mistake of putting in an unpopular candidate in the community to stand against you, then you would have lost in your own heartland. Just thank god that you were not standing against Saj Malik as your 95 majority would be a 200 deficit. No mention of Labours great victory though. Typical Greenie only mention those that manage to do worse than themselves, and as the 6th party in the UK there aren't many of those left. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG

7:13pm Tue 8 May 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Bart Simpsonxxx wrote:
So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget.
To quote Sir Cameron Bridie:-

"A loser is not a winner and never will be unless there is a draw"
[quote][p][bold]Bart Simpsonxxx[/bold] wrote: So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget.[/p][/quote]To quote Sir Cameron Bridie:- "A loser is not a winner and never will be unless there is a draw" Andrew:Oxford

7:25pm Tue 8 May 12

LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Bart Simpsonxxx wrote:
So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget.
To quote Sir Cameron Bridie:-

"A loser is not a winner and never will be unless there is a draw"
Thank god there is somebody else on here with a modicum of literacy, everybody else seems to think that LOOSER is the word for somebody that doesnae win.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bart Simpsonxxx[/bold] wrote: So they lose seats but have improved. Thank god they are not in control of the budget.[/p][/quote]To quote Sir Cameron Bridie:- "A loser is not a winner and never will be unless there is a draw"[/p][/quote]Thank god there is somebody else on here with a modicum of literacy, everybody else seems to think that LOOSER is the word for somebody that doesnae win. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG

8:41pm Tue 8 May 12

iklhik says...

The photo alone shows why the Greens should never win control of the council. At least Labour present a professional image rather than looking like they've just been dragged backwards through a hedge whilst wearing scruffy gardening clothes.
The photo alone shows why the Greens should never win control of the council. At least Labour present a professional image rather than looking like they've just been dragged backwards through a hedge whilst wearing scruffy gardening clothes. iklhik

10:52pm Tue 8 May 12

LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG says...

iklhik wrote:
The photo alone shows why the Greens should never win control of the council. At least Labour present a professional image rather than looking like they've just been dragged backwards through a hedge whilst wearing scruffy gardening clothes.
Don't be hard on him mate. That IS his Sunday best.
[quote][p][bold]iklhik[/bold] wrote: The photo alone shows why the Greens should never win control of the council. At least Labour present a professional image rather than looking like they've just been dragged backwards through a hedge whilst wearing scruffy gardening clothes.[/p][/quote]Don't be hard on him mate. That IS his Sunday best. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG

8:35am Wed 9 May 12

Major Oxford says...

great i thought we were rid of the carrot cruncher
great i thought we were rid of the carrot cruncher Major Oxford

1:15pm Wed 9 May 12

King Joke says...

Is this the same Green Party who are campaigning to get rid of public transport in St Clements, and campaigning against parking restrictions in Iffley Fields? THey're a bunch of opportunistic hypocrites.
Is this the same Green Party who are campaigning to get rid of public transport in St Clements, and campaigning against parking restrictions in Iffley Fields? THey're a bunch of opportunistic hypocrites. King Joke

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